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Q: What Does It Take to Prep Your Home for Sale?

First impressions are key. Here’s how to wow potential buyers.

You’d never dream of inviting guests to your house without making certain preparations, right? So don’t invite potential buyers in without first making necessary updates. If you’re most sellers, you want to maximize the transaction and net the most money possible in the shortest time. Here are the steps you must take to achieve that end: 

1. Letting go. This may sound oddly deep, but it’s important. After you’ve lived in a house for a long time, it becomes much more than just four walls and a ceiling; it’s a true home, and it most likely holds a lot of great memories for you and your family. The first step to preparing for a sale is to realize that you get to take these awesome memories with you. If you can start thinking about the process as a new beginning rather than an end, the following steps will be much easier. 

2. Staging the home. The name of the game is creating an environment that is free of any distracting personal items such as family photos, religious/ideological symbols, etc. When a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to envision themselves living in that space. Your effects are special to you, but understand that their removal is not to be taken as a knock against you or your taste—it just helps other people imagine their own unique style thriving in the home.

3. Removing clutter. When your home is clean and free of clutter, it will seem significantly larger and more inviting. Pack up all the knick-knacks, remove the kids’ drawings from the fridge, and clean up the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms— the two areas that will serve as the main selling points of your home. 


“You’d be surprised how many people pay attention to even the tiniest of details.”


4. Making the features shine. Your living room should have one focal point, whether it’s a cozy fireplace or a breathtaking view of the outside. If there are too many features in one room competing for buyers’ attention, the effect can be negative. Focus on just one area and make it shine. 

A home with a stunning view should have window dressings that accent the positive instead of hiding it. If your furniture has a strong design of any kind, mask it with a solid slipcover that better complements the flooring or wall color. Some homeowners may have to add a fresh coat of paint to their walls to bring life back into a space.

Now that you know the importance of clearing out the clutter and getting rid of distracting items and furniture, you may ask yourself: Where do I put all of this stuff? Well, if you already have a new home, you can simply store it all there. Otherwise, you’ll want to put it away in storage. It’s important to leave some furniture, though; dining room tables, couches, and a few chairs can help buyers visualize the space as a home. Anything else that crams the space or disrupts the flow should be removed. 

Lastly, make sure that you have any carpet stains removed, your windows are clean, and fresh linens are placed in the bedrooms and bathrooms. You’d be surprised how many people pay attention to even the tiniest of details, so be sure to fix any small repairs that could be a turn off for potential buyers. Don’t neglect the home’s exterior, either. This means that your lawn should be well-maintained—fresh mulch in the flowerbeds, clean gutters, and trimmed shrubs. 

If you have questions about this or any other real estate topic, please feel free to reach out via phone or email. I’m here to be a resource for you and would love to hear more about your situation. 

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John Lyons

Tired of traveling week-in and week-out for his corporate job, John Lyons decided to start his own real estate business. Lyons could not have predicted how well his background would prepare him for a career in real estate. His journey has been a long and successful one. After graduating from Indiana University in 2001, he took a job selling copiers at Minolta Business Solutions. After building an impressive track record there, he was hired by BrainLAB, Inc. to sell image guides surgical systems. He quickly rose to become one of the top sales representatives for the company. Seven years later, he was hired by Midwest director of sales IMRIS, for their intraoperative MRI and integrated operating room solutions. Now he has a new outlet for his sales abilities: real estate. A Chicago Association of Realtors Top Producer and recipient of Baird and Warner’s Founder’s Club award for the past four years, Lyons had a record 2018, selling more than 11.7 million in real estate. This marked an 18 percent increase over his 2017 numbers. “I was able to accomplish this through daily prospecting and providing a high-level of service for my clients,” he says. In testimonials, his clients say he is patient, trustworthy, personable, knowledgeable, and professional. “Each and every client is so different,” he says. “It’s important to truly understand their needs so you can best serve them. Listening build trust, which is so incredibly important in our business.” A member of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, he assist clients in a variety of neighborhoods, including the Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Uptown, Ravenswood, Logan Square, West Town, and the Loop. He is quick to admit the best education he has ever received was from his 6 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Lyons donates $200 per transaction to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “I am running the Chicago Marathon in 2019 for Lurie Children’s Hospital,” he says. “I have a lofty goal this year, to qualify for the Boston Marathon a second time. Since the beginning of the year, I have been spending at least four hours a week training for the October 13 race.” Results matter, here are John's Listing Numbers: Average list to sell ratio - 98.2% Average days to closing - 52 Listings taken to listings sold - 99%

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